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Life After: The Basement
(© Bryan Way)

This contribution is part of a series:-
1. Life After: A Deadly Secret (2-Aug-2006)
Two young people cross paths at the start of an outbreak, but one of them may not be what they seem.
2. Life After: The Phoenix (15-Jan-2009)
The story of a separated couple struggling to find the solution to their strife during an undead outbreak.
3. Life After: The Cemetery Plot (17-Jul-2012)
One man's obsession with cheaply burying his brother-in-law sees him get more than he bargained for.
4. Life After: Undeath Syndrome Surveillance and Diagnosis (7-Jun-2013)
An attempt by the CDC to diagnose and analyze the conditions that cause Zombies.
5. Life After: The Basement (7-Jun-2013)
Eric & Mia think they've found the source of a Zombie outbreak, but their reality is far worse than they imagined.

Page 1

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: The Life After series is intended as a collection of short stories to coincide with the book of the same name.)


12-20-04, MONDAY

"…read that last part back to me." Eric whispers, pinching his eyes shut and methodically running his fingers through his buzzed black hair before replacing his winter cap. Across from him, Mia flips back a page on her legal pad and lifts it to catch the remaining embers of light provided by the street lamps.

"…despite city, county, state, and country-wide panic, both civilian and Black Forest personnel can still be observed entering and exiting the IBT building."

"That's from Lequire, right? And he's been on this since…"

"December 2002." Mia interrupts quietly, kicking her long brown hair back with a sharp jerk of her neck. "He's been trying to get a solid local story on oversight since then, but he's had a hard time keeping up."

"We all have. Okay, read me the summary."

Mia takes a long swig from a water bottle before breathing deep, the air exiting her mouth turning into ice crystals as she returns her attention to the legal pad. Eric smirks as he takes in her sharp, angular face and feline eyes before his attention is drawn to a walking corpse as it stumbles diagonally through the gentle dusting of snow in the street below.

"In June of 2002, Integrated Business Technologies opens a branch in Newtown Square, bringing unprecedented job growth to the area. IBT, one of the world leaders in developing science-based technologies into revenue-generating products and services, is contracted by the government in February 2003 for assistance with an unknown project. Over the course of the next few months IBT's net worth increases, eclipsing 65 billion by August of 2003… and after less than a year of construction, the Mercy Health Center in Newtown Square opens in December of 2003; the complex is less than a quarter mile from the IBT America headquarters and, to date, has not received any patients or retained the services of any healthcare professionals. By March of 2004, IBT's net worth has increased to 75 billion without any major announcements of mergers, acquisitions, innovations, or inventions, a bump that IBT executives attribute to ‘good business practices', but the Wall Street Journal attributes in part to a slight increase in the federal budget. The upward trend continues, and despite the fact that MHC remains unstaffed, the premises are regularly patrolled by security guards. It is believed that the security services for both IBT and MHC are provided by Black Forest USA, a private security contractor contemporaneously used by the U.S. State Department. Between January and June of 2004, persons unknown have been witnessed entering and exiting the MHC premises under the surveillance of Black Forest mercenaries, and on at least two occasions, staff have been witnessed transiting from IBT to MHC with Black Forest escort. In October 2004, the dead begin returning to life at the Brookwood Cemetery in Newtown Square, a mere 1.25 miles from the MHC site. After October 2004, Black Forest is apparently no longer active at the MHC site despite the fact that one previously acknowledged Black Forest vehicle remains parked on the premises. Despite city, county, state, and country-wide panic, both civilian and Black Forest personnel can still be observed entering and exiting the IBT building. Conclusion: it is extremely likely that the government, through IBT and MHC, are responsible for the outbreak."

Eric exhales deeply. When he begins nodding, Mia has to lean forward to discern his head from the darkness surrounding him. He sits up and looks over a stone divider just behind him, his face lit by the diffused tungsten light. His eyes train on the red MERCY HEALTH CENTER sign that dimly pierces the darkness from across the street.

"Nervous?" Mia asks.

"Terrified."

"Good."

Eric chortles, reaching out to stroke Mia's forearm and missing as she moves it.

"Good?"

"Anyone willing to break into a building potentially guarded by government sponsored mercenaries had better be nervous."

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Genre:Living Dead
Type:Medium length story
Rating:6.44 / 10
Rated By:39 users
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